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Dogs love nothing more than a walk around the block, but for many people, the only time they can give their dogs what they want is when the sun has gone down.
Although it might not be obvious at first, there are lots of dangers lurking when walking your dog at night, so safety is imperative.
Walking a dog at night comes with risks to both of you, whether it’s other wildlife creeping around you have to be aware of or traffic that can’t see you properly due to a lack of visibility in the dark. Whatever the risk, it’s a whole new world walking your pooch at this time, and you need to take the correct measures to make it safe.
How safe is it to walk your dog at night?
Walking a dog when the sun has gone down comes with risks like nighttime wildlife, lack of visibility, and potential predators that are lurking around. Depending on where you live and what the local dog-friendly paths are like, there could be more or less of this to worry about than others.
If you live somewhere the sun goes down or early or find your pooch loves nothing more than a nightly stroll before bed, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep safe.
Both you and your dog need to be protected during this seemingly harmless activity, and we’ll show you how to do just that.
Where Should I Walk My Dog at Night?
Walking your dog should be treated just as if you were walking alone in the dark, so choosing the safest route is essential.
The best place to walk is somewhere close to home so that you’re familiar with your surroundings and won’t get lost, even if you do have your dog to help you.
The most important thing to look for with night walks is choosing a well-lit area that has a lot of street lamps or other forms of lighting. Even if you’re carrying a torch or have an LED dog collar, you’ll still need as much illumination as possible, and the best way to do this is to stick to popular areas that are lit up.
While walking, never attempt to cut through pathways or across fields, even if you’re in a hurry. This is where the most danger lies because people are venturing into unknown territory in the dark, so always stick to the pathways that you know and roads that you’re familiar with.
Things to Be Mindful of With Night Walks
There are lots of benefits to taking your dog for a nightly stroll, like cool weather and a night of better sleep for them, but there’s also a lot to be careful of.
These are a few things you should be prepared to encounter when walking at night so you can avoid them before they occur.
Cars and bikes
Road traffic is dangerous at the best of times, but when you’re walking around in the dark you’re reducing your visibility by a huge amount. People driving and cycling on the road won’t be able to see you well when you’re walking at night, and it can lead to serious accidents and injuries.
Predators can come in the form of other humans or animals, and their tendency to come out at night increases. People can hide in the dark, giving them a better chance to attack without the victim being aware, so you need to be mindful of your surroundings at all times.
Lots of wildlife prefer to come out at night, and the risk of this is that it can excite your dog or even hurt them.
Dogs love to chase anything that moves, and they can get away from you on their lead if they’re in hot pursuit of a squirrel. Worse still, other risks like snakes will be harder to see at night and can be harmful to you and your pet.
Without the help of the sun to light the roads and pathways, it can be easy to get lost, even in your own neighborhood. Becoming lost in the dark and without a cellphone or way to find a home, you could be stuck outside for hours.
Trips and falls
Not being able to see the road and path in front of you means the chance of having an accident like tripping or falling is greatly increased. Nighttime walks leave you open to more injuries, and the same goes for your dog as well.
Tools and Tips for Improving Safety
There’s no need to put an end to nighttime walks with your pooch, as long as you’re being careful.
Follow these tips and tricks to ensure a safer stroll at night, so you don’t have to give up on your daily exercise.
LED collar and harness
These harnesses and collars feature LED lighting that keeps your dog illuminated and they’re a must-have no matter what area you live in or how well you and your dog know it.
With one of these fitted, even if your dog runs off, you’ll be able to find them, and they’ll be able to see what’s in front of them more clearly which reduces their risk of harm.
A reflective vest can be helpful for both you and your dog, ensuring other vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians can see you.
This helps greatly with visibility at night and will be useful for anyone using light, as it will be reflected off your vests, and show people where you are.
Take your phone
Never leave home without your phone, even if you’re going around the block. With the heightened risk of accidents and injuries that can occur or the chance you might get lost, you’ll want to have constant access to a communication device that can quickly get you out of a jam.
Keep the leash on
No matter how dog-friendly a park is or how much you know the neighborhood, you should never let your dog off their leash in the dark.
You’ll be unable to find them and will be willingly putting them in harm’s way. Always keep their lead and collar attached at all times.
Stay in local areas
Night time is not the best time to explore new areas on a walk. Only stick to the neighborhood you live in and the paths and roads that you’ve been on before during the day.
Navigating your way around is a lot harder to do without any light and when the temperatures drop and bigger risks are around at night, you don’t want to be lost outside.
Let people know where you are
Even if you plan on going for a short stroll around the block, make a point of telling someone that’s what you’re doing.
Should the worst happen, someone will be able to alert authorities and tell them you took your dog for a walk, which will make it easier to locate you or help track you down.
Walking your dog is just one part of pet ownership that needs to be tended to every day.
With dogs especially, there’s a lot to learn, and things we must be mindful of to take the best care of them. We’ve got the answers to some FAQs about pooches that can help you achieve the very best standard of care.
How Do You Walk a Dog That Pulls?
Not all dogs know how to walk on a lead the first time, and it requires some training, especially for those that like to pull.
If your dog pulls on the leash when you’re walking, stop moving straight away and stand still until he walks by your side. When he does come to your side, reward him with a small treat to reinforce this good behavior.
Why Do Dogs Jump on You?
A dog jumping on people is a learned behavior and bad habit that might not have been corrected from when they were a puppy.
This can happen when they feel a lack of confidence around someone new, which causes them to try and assert themselves by jumping up and dominating the stranger, or it could be done during times of excitement and anticipation.
Should You Sleep With Your Dogs?
Whether or not you sleep with your dogs on your bed is a personal preference, but most anima behavioralists will argue that it’s not the right thing to do.
However, for dog lovers, sleeping with their pets can provide comfort and warmness, and it’s a habit that they don’t want to break, nor do their dogs.